RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Superior Court Judge Jeff Hunt made a strong statement against littering in court Tuesday. William Leon Boykins, Jr., 27, demanded a jury trial for the charge of littering under 15 lbs.
The jury returned a verdict of guilty for the Class 3 Misdemeanor. Judge Hunt then sentenced Boykins to the maximum time of 20 days for that level in the sentencing grid. He could have also faced a fine between $250-$5000 and community service in the range of 8-24 hours. Boykins was represented by Baiba Bourbeau.
The charges stem from an incident on November 23, 2016 when State Highway Patrolman K. L. Smith observed a lit cigarette thrown out a car on Hwy 64. The time was approximately 12:55 a.m. The trooper turned around and pulled Boykins over on Railroad Avenue in Rutherfordton.
[Editor’s note: This was the time of dry weather and the Party Rock fire was still raging.]
Prosecutor Ken Sauve brought out in testimony that the trooper approached the parked car whose driver’s side window was open. When asked about the lit cigarette thrown from the car, Boykins replied, “I don’t smoke cigarettes; I smoke Black and Mild cigars.”
The trooper returned to his own vehicle to print out a ticket. When he returned to the car the driver was smoking a half cigar. He explained to the trooper, “See I couldn’t have thrown one out since I am still smoking it.”
Under cross-examination it was also stated that a county deputy had pulled up behind the trooper to check that everything was ok. Smith checked in with him and sent him on his way.
The jury deliberated a short time and then returned the guilty verdict. Boykins was taken to jail.